Saturday, November 14, 2009

"Bad Date" Reporting

Unfortunately most sex workers do not report bad dates to police for various reasons. They may fear being criminalized or arrested themselves, may not want to go through the court process, or may not want to have to describe in detail what happened.

There is no law to protect sex workers from being charged under the criminal laws if they want to report anything to police. Under the current law sex workers can be arrested or later charged after identifying themselves as sex workers to police. It is hard to say exactly what happens when a bad date is reported to the police as it is rarely done and the police response varies widely.

In the Vancouver area, most bad dates have been reported to the MAP (Mobile Access Project) Van, a service that is run jointly by Women’s Information Safe Haven drop-in centre (WISH) and the Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE) that travels nightly between 10:30 pm and 5:30 am to sex workers’ strolls.

You can report bad dates online to WISH using this form http://www.wish-vancouver.net/media/pdfs/BadDateReportingFormJuly08.pdf or by phone at 604-669-9474. WISH then compiles the reports and distributes bad date sheets to the Vancouver community.

A bad date sheet* usually contains the details of a violent incident in order to let other sex workers know who to watch out for. Reports usually include the place, date and time the incident occurred, as well as a description of the client and his vehicle. The sheets are printed and distributed through the MAP Van (when in service), WISH drop-in centre, PACE and other women’s organization and the Vancouver Police.

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